A man accused of fatal beating his 64-year-old father in the victim's Desert Hot Springs home was found incompetent to stand trial Monday and committed to a state mental hospital.
Jose Angel Velasco, 36, is charged with murdering Jose Luis Velasco, whose body was found about 10:45 p.m. Aug. 3 in his home in the 16000 block of Via Corto West. Investigators believe he was killed on or about Aug. 1.
Criminal proceedings have been suspended since the summer, when doubt about the defendant's mental competence was declared. Velasco was ordered to be sent to a hospital on the recommendation of experts who examined him and reported back to the court. In order to be found mentally incompetent to stand trial, it must be found that a defendant does not understand the nature of the charges brought against him or her and cannot assist legal counsel in presenting a defense.
District attorney's spokesman John Hall said Velasco will be hospitalized for an undetermined period of time until, or if, his mental competence is restored, at which point criminal proceedings would be reinstated.
The younger Velasco, who had been living with his father, was arrested without incident around 8 p.m. Aug. 5 in the area of Sixth Street and Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.
Court documents indicate that he was previously diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and spent time at Patton and Metropolitan state hospitals about four years ago. He also reported to a court-appointed psychiatrist that he was previously treated at a psychiatric hospital in Moreno Valley and received treatment at an Indio facility on an outpatient basis.
Velasco stated that he heard voices that told him other people wanted to hurt him for unknown reasons and that he was in danger, according to the competency evaluation filed with the court.
According to the report, he described his relationship with his father as good and did not seem to understand what had happened to him, saying only that he thought his father was missing. He also said the police would not tell him what charges he faced and expressed little understanding about what was happening during his court hearings, nor why he was in jail, according to the report.
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